Take a beautiful voice, songs that speak to the very heart of the child, world class production, some of the finest and fun-est musicians in Toronto, and add the voices of children who have been singing these songs since they were babies, and what do you get? You get one of the freshest children’s music albums to come along in a very long time!! Since 1998, Kari has been connecting with children by sharing her favorite songs, which are both fun and affirming. This album brings them to life with fun musical arrangements that engage the imagination and offer quality musicianship to young ears. Meant to connect children to life rather than pull them away from it, these songs don’t just entertain, they affirm relationships and invite engagement with every listening. You are creeping through a haunted house when a spooky violin convinces you there are ghosts nearby. Tell us how brave you are as you sing along with Kari, “I’m Not Scared!!!” Adults, toddlers, and children of all ages will love the lively range of emotions and styles covered on this album, and will be inspired by the instrumental characters to sing, stomp, growl, jump, fly and tweet along.
It’s You I Like affirms and celebrates the heart of the child. It shares songs about feelings and what to do with feelings. When children sing along with this album, they will be using their own voices to declare how good it feels to be brave, to yell and stomp out a mad feeling in When I Feel Mad, or sing praises to their abilities in I Did It Myself. They can practice turning within for wisdom (I Can Listen to Myself) and claim ownership of themselves while connecting with their own body’s ability to play percussion in My Body. In the most useful song ever (Calm Down), parents, teachers, and children can count slowly in real time with Kari, take deep breaths to physically let go of stress and learn to self-regulate. Emotional intelligence is not a given in our culture, but with these songs, awareness grows with each listening.
There are songs to celebrate nature. Could there be any better fall leaf song than Red, Yellow, Orange and Brown? This version has violin leaves swirling and whirling around while jumping kids and crashing drums bring the color names to an ecstatic crescendo. Walkin’ in the Woods and The Bear Missed the Train feature a menagerie of percussion instruments to create crawling turtles, jumping frogs and unfurling ferns, plus lap steel swinging monkeys, a jazz piano Brazilian parrot, and a romping bass clarinet bear.
As light hearted and fun as this album is, it also honors the depth of a child’s spirit and the challenges children face living in this world today, with three original songs of Kari’s: On and On (written when two toddlers in her community died of cancer), It’s Not My Fault! (for children whose parents are fighting), and I Wish My Daddy Was Here. Kari’s reassuring voice in the title track by Fred Rogers sums up the album’s message for children with sincerity and warmth, that who we are deep down inside is all we ever need to be.